Over Christmas break I spent a lot of time trying to build up my online PLN through Twitter and blogs. I read this post by Alison Harper (@aliharper20), and I was really excited to give it a try during my geometry instruction.
To begin our geometry unit I talked with the kids about how geometry is a lot like reading. In reading you start with letters, put them together to make words, put words together to make sentences, and so on down the line. Instead of letters, in geometry we have basics like points, rays, lines and line segments. After the kids wrote the words and did some visual cues to review and look for at home we used Alison's idea and went on a scavenger hunt with the digital cameras. The students looked for our basics (in addition to those listed above we included plane, intersecting lines, parallel lines and perpendicular lines) all around the school. As the groups found the items the kids took turns using the digital camera to take pictures. Because I'm limited to 70 minutes for math and my kids come from 4 different classes, I uploaded the pictures to iPhoto and created a slideshow that included pictures from each group. I didn't include every picture because there were a lot of repeats and we have limited class time to review them.
Today, after reviewing our basics, we watched the slideshow. As with any movie, I let the kids watch the show one time through just to enjoy it and get thinking about the Geometry Basics. The second time through we stopped at each photo, and the students went to the screen and shared which basics they could see in the photo. The AH-HA moment came when the kids started saying, "Well we took this picture of this, but now I see there is __________ in the picture, too!" The next step was to post the slideshow on my class website (you can view it by clicking here if you'd like), and those students with Internet connections at home were invited to watch it with their families and teach them about the different geometry basics.
In keeping with trying to focus on WHY I am teaching things instead of WHAT am I teaching, my hope is that the kids will start to recognize the importance of geometry in their lives. Just through our scavenger hunt and photos we were able to see how important geometry must be to construction and design, and as we previewed angles today we realized that 360s aren't just tricks you do on a bike or skateboard. I'm excited to see how the kids continue to apply what they're learning to more advanced topics.
Thanks again, Alison Harper, for the great idea!